Barcelona – Celta Vigo: 2-0: Post match analysis

The Barça Tactician

Barcelona – Celta Vigo: 2-0: Post match analysis

Barcelona – Celta Vigo: 2-0, – the epitome of Valverde’s time at Barça; Boring, lackluster, conservative football. A tactical analysis of the match, by The Barça Tactician.

First off, the lineup and formations: Barca started with a 433 system, based on a deep block and quick transitions from the right wing to the left wing. While Celta started with an offensive 442 formation applying high pressure, and high intensity.

Celta tried to force play through the right wing, mainly because Messi cuts inside basically all game, and the right wing tended to stay isolated. However, Semedo was very powerful and accurate with his defending, leaving Celta basically stuck in their own half for a big part of the 1st half.

The role of Vidal

For some reason, the tactic which has worked for countless games this season: deploying Vidal in that Left CM role, was abandoned in favor of Rakitic and Vidal swapping sides. As a result, the right wing was dead most of the game, as Vidal was not playing in his best role.

Like Paulinho, Vidal is one of those players that thrive running behind late into ‘mediapunta’ territory. Barca lacked this, and therefore Messi was the only one behind Suarez and Dembelé.


As it reflects in the action map, Rakitic’s position was not what a conventional CM would play. He played almost as a 2nd DM, and was only a shield for Celta’s attack through that wing.

Attacking connection

In this game we saw Suarez dropping back and playing with the ball at his feet. Many noticed an odd feeling in the game. Both Messi and Suarez refused to pass the ball to Dembele on multiple times where the Frenchman was on position to score. It looked like nothing personal with Messi. However, it’s not the first time we’ve seen Suarez demeanor his teammates, preferring to pass it (only) to Messi.

Anyways, what killed Celta in this match was the now-classic Messi-Alba connection. Both goals came after a long diagonal lobbed ball from Messi to Alba’s left side, where he passed it back to Messi. In addition, Celta’s Mendez did not mark Alba enough, and Mallo focoused on Dembele.

Second half

In the second half of Barcelona – Celta Vigo, Celta subbed in Lobotka, a press resistant deep lying midfielder. He was quickly running rings through Barca’s midfield, that seemed to shut off after half time. Valverde noticed this, and subbed in Arthur.

As we have seen countless times with Valverde’s management, he preffered to purposely give the possesion to Celta. In addition, again we saw him switch to the infamous 442. Coutinho came in, and Barca lost all directness and creativity. Therefore, the team were merely defending their lead.

This made many people claim that this was the most boring game of the season, which I agree with. In addition, it’s another match that Valverde wins, but with a sour taste in our mouths. This goes against Cruyff’s ideas completely, preffering results over attractive football.



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